Planning a Trip
By Plane -- Flights from Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim arrive at Langnes Airport, 13km (8 miles) west of the center of Tromsø. Flights from Oslo take 1 hour, 40 minutes; flights from Bergen take 3 hours, 10 minutes. Tromsø also has air links with Trondheim in central Norway and such far-northern outposts as Alta, Hammerfest, Honningsvåg, and Kirkeness. Tromsø is served by such carriers as SAS (tel. 74-80-41-00; www.sas.no), Widerøe (tel. 81-00-12-00; www.wideroe.no), and Norwegian Air Shuttle (tel. 81-52-18-15; www.norwegian.no). For general information, call the Tromsø Airport at tel. 77-64-84-00.
By Train -- There is no rail link in Tromsø. The nearest connection is via Narvik.. From Narvik, you'll have to go the rest of the way overland by bus.
By Bus -- Nor-way Buss Ekspress (tel. 77-85-21-00; www.nor-way.no) runs daily express buses to Tromsø from Narvik, taking 4 hours and 15 minutes and costing around NOK370 ($74/£37) one-way or NOK740 ($148/£74) for a round-trip ticket. There are at least three daily buses Monday to Friday and at least two on Saturday and Sunday. The same company, in summer, also operates buses that run to the North Cape, although a transfer in Alta is necessary. Details about this bus might change from week to week, so call in advance if you're contemplating such a journey.
By Car -- Take E6 from Oslo all the way north.
By Coastal Steamer -- Hurtigruten (coastal steamer; tel. 866/552-0371; www.hurtigruten.us) connections link Tromsø with at least a dozen other cities along the Norwegian coast, including Narvik, Bergen, and Bodø.
For information about Tromsø and the surrounding area, call the Tromsø tourist office -- also known as Destination Tromsø -- at Kirkegate 2 (tel. 77-61-00-00; www.destinasjontromso.no). From June to August it's open Monday to Friday 9am to 7pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm. During other months, it is open only Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm.
The center of Tromsø lies on the eastern shore of the island of Tromsøya. It is divided by hills from the western shore and the airport at Langnes. A bridge and tunnel link the mainland of Norway to the island of Tromsøya. Coastal steamers pull into the piers at the foot of Kirkegata right in the town center.
The heart of town is small enough to make walking around it relatively easy. Running in a north/south axis, the main street is Storgata. At the center of this street is Stortorget, the main square of town opening onto the harbor. Stortorget is the site of a daily open-air market selling flowers and crafts. The most bustling and busiest part of town lies south of Storgata reaching the harbor. Some major streets include Strandgata, Skippergata, and Skansegata. This area is filled with shops, restaurants, bars, and cafes.
Local buses can take you to attractions outside the center.
If you arrive at the airport, Flybussen (tel. 98-23-02-30) will take you into the center in about 15 minutes, costing NOK50 ($10/£5) for a one-way fare. A city bus also makes the run for NOK30 ($6/£3), and you can take a taxi for around NOK150 ($30/£15).
Local buses branch out from the center to serve Greater Tromsø. A one-way ride costs NOK30 ($6/£3). If you plan to use the buses a lot, you can purchase a 24-hour pass for NOK60 ($12/£6) at the tourist office.
The major taxi stand is at Strandveien 30 (tel. 77-60-30-00), outside of Øldhallen.
In summer consider cycling around town. Bikes are rented at Sportshuset, Storgata 87 (tel. 77-66-11-00), for between NOK70 to NOK100 ($14-$20/£7-£10) per day, depending on the model you rent. Our favorite bike ride is to head east of the city center in the direction of the Arctic Cathedral. You must cross the spindly Tromsø Bridge to the other side of the water, arriving in the suburb of Tromsdal. After a visit to the Arctic Cathedral here, you can ride for about 10 minutes to the cable car at Fjellheisen. You can lock your bike at the bottom of the cable-car station and take the ride to the top for one of the most panoramic views in the north of Norway.
The main post office is at Strandgata 41 (tel. 81-00-07-10). If you patronize the Amtmandens Datter Pub, Grønnegata 81 (tel. 77-68-49-06), you can get Internet access for NOK40 ($8/£4) per half-hour. The pub, named for the 1830s novel by Camille Collett, is open June to August Monday to Thursday noon to 1:30am, Friday to Saturday noon to 3am, and Sunday noon to midnight. In off-season months, hours are Monday to Saturday noon to 3am and Sunday 3pm to 3am. Keeping the same hours is Dark Light, Stortorget 1 (tel. 77-68-74-44), where it costs NOK45 ($9/£4.50) per half-hour to use the computers or NOK60 ($12/£6) per hour. Coffee, mineral water, and sandwiches are served, but no alcohol.